Comfort food for post-midterm depression

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My dad recently sent me an article entitled “Michelin Names New York’s Best Value Eateries.” He knows how much I like trying new restaurants… and I know how much he appreciates it when I don’t kill my bank account in the process. I mean, I would love to eat at Eleven Madison Park, but at $195 for the dinner tasting menu, I will stick with highlighting one of the restaurants on Michelin’s list of best value. Hill Country Chicken (HCC) was awarded the Bib Gourmand, an accolade presented to restaurants based on value-for-money.

Although I grew up in Florida, I still enjoyed authentic, southern-style, home cooking every time I visited my wonderful Nana and Papa. Think homemade biscuits and gravy, grits, fried chicken… the staples. New York City’s Hill Country Chicken brings all of these memories flooding back.

Located on the corner of Broadway and 25th, the warm yellow awnings and rustic doors beckon you. Inside, you find old counter tops that remind you of your grandmother’s kitchen table. The décor draws you from New York City into a rural Georgia kitchen. The smell of fresh, fried chicken awakens your senses and homemade pies hypnotize your salivary glands.

Hill Country Chicken offers an assortment of southern-style food with appropriate charm: chicken and waffles, fresh-cut fries, pecan pie, biscuits and cheesy fried mash potatoes, in addition to a new twist on classics, e.g. pie shakes, fried pimento cheese sandwich or the fire-N-ice pickles. Hill Country Chicken’s excellent variety, superb quality and exceptionally low prices will fill every college students heart with joy.

My favorite meal is the kid’s coop. Yes, you read that right, the kid’s meal. But trust me, there is an abundance of food. The kid’s coop comes with a bag of French fries (be sure to ask for the seasoning or add it on your own at the condiments bar), two chicken tenders and a drink– all for $6.50.

The fries are served fresh and hot. The chicken is crispy and accompanied with your choice of sauces—I always ask for the buttermilk ranch dip. HCC provides Boylan’s soda, an all-natural soda produced with cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup (i.e. the essence of a good meal).

Now, you may be thinking, “That’s not a lot of food.” Simply add a homemade biscuit for a dollar and cover it in honey (again, provided at the condiment bar).

And if you are still hungry, add a side. The cheesy potatoes will convince you that you could live on cheese and potatoes (however an unhealthy that lifestyle might be). Or, add the fire-N-ice pickles to your meal: sliced pickles seasoned with red pepper flakes to add a spicy kick to your meal. Even with a biscuit and a side, your meal won’t pass $11.

Now, provided you want to try a small pie cup, add three more dollars. HCC provides a rotating pie menu that varies by the day and season. The pies are available in four sizes. Some come by the slice; others you can buy in small, medium and large pie cup sizes. The small pie cup is a hearty serving for one or a satisfying tasting for two.

But if you can’t decide between the specialty pies and ice cream shakes, try a pie shake instead.  HCC provides a dinner table where divorcing a pie or marrying a shake is a necessary evil, but here’s the good: you’ll leave with leftovers.

CultureCaroline Swenson